Hosting has a lot of big names. Well, it has a lot of names that are really popular, and then a large selection of names well-known to those who are already ingrained in the hosting world.
Lunarpages is one such company. It’s unlikely to be a name the uninitiated has come across. And yet, Lunarpages has a surprising roster of current and former customers.
…Oh. Yeah, those are some pretty big names.
“So I’ve never heard of it, and it has all these big clients? Doesn’t that mean it’s only got enterprise-grade solutions?”
No, as it turns out. In fact, most of the plans Lunarpages offers are good for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) or even individuals who just want a decent site.
I’ve learned a thing or two about Lunarpages over the years, and I’d like to let you in on some of its secrets. Let’s start with the good ones.
I know, I know—“get to the good stuff!”
Sure. Here are some positives to Lunarpages.
- Overall decent pricing with a fair allotment of resources and features. Moreover, Lunarpages has many shared hosting options to choose from.
- Lunarpages’ included website builder is Weebly’s builder. This makes it a far more attractive option and can cut costs for people who would otherwise pay for hosting and connect it to a site builder. Plus it’s a good builder and easy to use.
- Lunarpages offers a really well-priced, scalable cloud VPS option.
- Overall good customer support, and really great on-site resources: specifically, an awesome knowledge base/wiki, and well-used community forum.
- Good security and reliability.
- Overall, Lunarpages is great for higher quality hosting, including higher quality shared server hosting.
Can you really have a list of pros without a list of cons? I don’t think so. The world’s not perfect, and neither is Lunarpages.
- Although the features are overall decent, it’s not an extraordinary load. There are also a lot of add-ons, which can be good or bad depending on your situation.
- The first shared hosting plan is much worse-equipped than most other entry level shared hosting plans on other platforms. For example, there is no included site builder until the next tier.
- The Weebly website builder that is included with some plans is very limited, and must be upgraded to accommodate more pages. The default, free version only lets you work with 3 pages, and the first upgrade only lets you work with 10.
- Lunarpages’ pricing isn’t exactly ideal value pricing for individuals, unless individuals are running pages for their business. Even then, other companies may provide better prices. For businesses, however, Lunarpages can be a good deal.
Pricing and Features
Now that you’ve seen my overview of the pros and cons, let’s take a look at some of the details involved. I’ll start, as usual, with pricing and features.
One of the things I find interesting about Lunarpages is its pricing structure. Lunarpages offers three types of hosting: shared hosting, dedicated hosting, and cloud hosting.
In particular, Lunarpages offers quite a few shared hosting options. Lunarpages has four subcategories here: Personal Hosting, Business Hosting, Windows Hosting, and Developer Reseller Hosting.
Each of these has a couple tiers to choose from. Personal Hosting is $3.95 and $4.95 a month, which is within a pretty normal price range (albeit on the higher side of normal).
Business Hosting starts at $22.95 and extends to $62.95. You start with 20GB of storage and 200GB of bandwidth, which the second tier raises to 40GB and 400GB, and the final tier makes unlimited.
Let me pause here to talk a bit about the features of Personal and Business Hosting.
Both Personal and Business Hosting get a website builder, but Personal’s first tier doesn’t. This strikes me as unnecessary, but it’s not a major flaw. Plus, you get Softaculous Web Scripts, which can be used to install other content management systems that are fairly easy to use. Also, Personal’s second tier gets the Weebly website builder included, which is a pretty significant bonus.
Another item of interest is the cPanel. Lunarpages has its own control panel application available for free, and cPanel is available for an extra $2 a month for the higher tier. This is either unfortunate or generous, depending on how you look at it—most hosts have cPanel by default, but those that use their own native applications tend not to offer cPanel.
One of the most unique things about Business Hosting, is that all tiers are a) PCI compliant (necessary for ecommerce, of course), b) come with an SSL certificate, and c) include a dedicated IP. This last one is a bit more unique, as we’re still in the realm of shared hosting.
Lunarpages’ integration with Weebly’s site builder is a major selling point, as Weebly has one of the best drag-and-drop builders around. However, its inclusion comes with a slight catch.
You’re limited to 3 pages if you just use the free builder. This is totally unnecessary, in my opinion, and is something to watch out for. It’s probably a better idea to install a CMS if you’re on a budget and want more depth to your site.
Anyway, shared Windows Hosting starts at $9.95 a month, and comes with unlimited storage plus 500MB mailbox storage per domain (and one domain is free). It’s a good option for those interested in special applications, but who don’t want to break the budget.
Developer Reseller Hosting starts at $19.95 a month, and comes with several control panel options, including cPanel for clients, which is a good sign. You also get 50GB of disk space and 500GB of bandwidth.
Some might find 50GB is too constrained for resellers, but I don’t. Realistically, 50GB is a lot, and you know your clients best—if you’re a good reseller, you won’t deliver something your clients can’t use.
This gets us on the topic of heavier hosting options: let’s look at cloud hosting. Lunarpages offers two types: Scalable Cloud VPS Hosting and Private Cloud Hosting.
It should go without saying that these are good options for those who want a more premium option than shared hosting, but don’t want or need to pay for a pricier dedicated hosting plan.
Plans start at $44.95 and with 2 CPU cores, 50GB of SSD storage, 2 GB of RAM, and 1000 GB of bandwidth. All things considered, this is a pretty normal price with a pretty normal amount of features. If you’re interested in Lunarpages’ quality, the Scalable Cloud VPS plans are pretty good.
Of course, the more interesting part of this is the term “scalable.” You can scale up RAM, for example: 1GB increments with less than a dollar per GB a day. CPU cores can be increased for even less, and so on with other specs. Although at times this makes your pricing more variable and thus harder to calculate, it also gives you more control over the specifications you’re paying for and can thus also make calculating easier.
Plus, it’s is truly cost-effective for scaling. Yeah, if you just need the bare minimum resources, LunarPages’ plan is just decent. But if you need a little more of something—disk space, RAM, bandwidth, or CPU cores—you can simply use it without upgrading to a tier twice the price.
This is a significantly easier and more cost-efficient than preset tiered structures, which often result in undesired and extra resources or costs, in exchange for some basic increase in a certain resource. True, tiered plans aren’t pure evil, but the scalable option Lunarpages presents is pretty good and I give them credit.
The private cloud option has custom pricing and custom features, but it is also scalable in that you can work out your needs with the Lunarpages’ team. Given Lunarpages’ client portfolio, I don’t doubt this option.
Lastly, Lunarpages offers dedicated hosting options, both Linux and Windows.
Both Linux and Windows options, interestingly, have the same prices—three plans between $99 and $589 a month—and nearly identical specs.
The specifications are pretty good, and comparable to the market average. Unsurprisingly, you can also purchase additional upgrades as needed.
I think the added bonus here is similar to that of the Cloud options: Lunarpages seems to be a company to trust for higher-grade hosting solutions.
Taking all the hosting plans into account, I find the shared hosting pricing a little unfortunate. If you’re a small business however, the price differences at hand are not too significant, and it doesn’t warrant as high a priority.
In fact, my only true negative comment on the pricing and features is this: don’t purchase the entry-level starter plan. Whether you’re an individual or a business, you can get more features and similar quality at a better or equivalent price with another company.
The second tier of Personal Hosting is a pretty good deal, however. And in fact, it might even be a decent option for small businesses. A small business that needs a hosting, but not intensively, could use the Personal plans and equip them with add-ons as needed, and pay significantly less than the Business Plans. Of course, it depends on your specific situation.
So all things considered, Lunarpages has pretty decent pricing options with good feature allocations. The best of Lunarpages will be used, in my opinion, by SMBs. Individuals and groups pursuing their own non-business interests can still get the hosting plan right for them with Lunarpages, but it won’t be a significantly better steal than anywhere else.
Of course, the jury’s still out. Let’s take a look at some of the other important factors in play.
Ease of Use
Lunarpages initially struck me as a host good for delivering high quality solutions, but which wouldn’t be the friendliest to inexperienced customers.
Having used it, my impression hasn’t changed tremendously. Certainly, Lunarpages is as easy as any other popular hosting service, and this is the important benchmark. However, Lunarpages isn’t exceptionally easy.
Lunarpages tries to emphasize its user-friendliness with its website builder. Which is actually Weebly’s builder.
It’s a good thing Lunarpages integrates with Weebly. Certainly it can be easy to build a site on the Lunarpages platform, in addition to hosting (should you be interested in that).
But what about the actual hosting? After all, Lunarpages doesn’t include the near-ubiquitous cPanel software for free, and one must use their own native application unless they want to pay for cPanel.
Having experienced it, it’s not too bad at all. I can’t really say whether I prefer cPanel or Lunarpages’ control panel, as I find them about equally appealing to my own tastes. I think cPanel is a little better because it’s more common, and is easier for those transitioning.
Plus, cPanel is just generally easy on the eyes. Nonetheless, Lunarpages isn’t particularly hard to use. The bigger question for me is whether Lunarpages can go above and beyond in user-friendliness, rather than simply reaching the basic market standard?
The answer to that is no, but that’s okay. Again, I’m not saying Lunarpages is more difficult than the typical hosting service. But if you’re looking for a service that strongly prioritizes ease of use, Lunarpages may not be your top choice.
But if that’s not you, you shouldn’t have too many qualms with Lunarpages. And if you do, you can always contact customer support…
Lunarpages, being a relatively small name with some big-name clients, might make you uncertain about the quality of customer support. I initially suspected such a company wouldn’t be able to invest much in “ordinary” customers’ support.
Thankfully, this hasn’t been the case. In fact, Lunarpages has done an excellent job of supporting everyday customers. There are two main sorts of customer support, the first being the representatives you talk to, and the second being informational material available on the site.
Let’s start with the first. Lunarpages has three modes through which reps can be contacted: live chat, ticket, and phone. Lunarpages impressed me right off the bat by having quite a few different phone lines clearly available.
My experience with live chat has been hit or miss. Sometimes it’s pretty decent, other times I find the representatives don’t respond accurately. Here’s one such instance.
As you can see, the rep misunderstood my question, but that’s because they weren’t prepared to deal with an inconsistency on the site (that I was trying to understand). It’s not too bad, and other chats have been better.
Additionally, phone chat and ticket have had better fixes in my experience, so at least you’re not short of options.
As the name implies, the format is more that of a wiki than a knowledge base, which is pretty unusual for a hosting company. Nonetheless, it serves the same core function. I think a knowledge base is somewhat easier to deal with for beginners, but this is still a pretty usable resource.
Plus, it covers a wide range of topics and a lot of the articles are really in-depth. It’s one of the best knowledge repositories I’ve seen, especially considering the size of Lunarpages.
Lunarpages has an FAQ page that addresses a few basic questions. It’s quicker than the Wiki or customer support for a few basic things, but isn’t something you can count on if you’re more than a brand new customer.
Lastly, Lunarpages offers a community forum. This forum is by far one of the most robust I’ve seen, with thousands of topics and hundreds of thousands of posts.
When I take into account my experience interacting with representatives, the general availability of those representatives, and the well-endowed on-site resources, I’ve got to say Lunarpages has excellent customer support. I give extra points for a really great wiki and forum.
Security and Reliability
Something I often find with popular web hosts is a lack of transparency on security protocols. It’s not universal, but some larger hosts will simply neglect to outline how they protect their servers and their customers’ information.
This doesn’t mean those companies have bad security. It’s simply unfortunate, especially as you shouldn’t have to take your top choice on faith.
As I find this semi-frequently occurs with larger names, and as Lunarpages has serviced some large clients, I had hoped Lunarpages would not fall into this common flaw. They don’t.
How can you not be encouraged by that picture?
Jokes aside, Lunarpages really does tell you what’s going on. It describes DDoS protection, 99.9% server uptime, and 24/7 server monitoring, the fundamentals of good security standards.
They also detail some other characteristics of their data centers, which translated to English mean the physical hardware is the best around to ensure servers are maintained and properly regulated.
Plus, some accounts come equipped with SSL and Lunarpages’ own PCI compliance, necessary features for ecommerce.
The security sounds solid—but how does the actual performance measure up from the end of the user?
I’ve found it to be pretty good. I’ve had excellent uptime and decent response times. It’s a good selling point for Lunarpages, as it complements Lunarpages’ advertised hosting quality. And as far as day to day management goes, I haven’t had a hitch.
To wrap it up, Lunarpages has solid security (and transparency!), plus it’s a very reliable performer.
Conclusion: Do I Recommend Lunarpages?
We’ve covered a lot of ground, and we’ve now come full circle. Where does Lunarpages stand now?
It’s got good security and is a very reliable performer. It’s customer support is overall pretty strong, with some great on-site informational resources. It’s roughly easy to use, though not exceptionally so.
Most of its plans are appropriately priced, and some are pretty good deals considering the benefits. The exception is the entry-level plan, which I can’t see being worth it unless you just love Lunarpages and want to support the company.
It’s true there are some annoying things here and there—particularly, some upgrades you may feel compelled to make. The best examples would be cPanel, which is a paid upgrade, or a drag-and-drop builder than can accommodate more than 3 pages.
Nonetheless, some of the perks that come with certain plans are impressive. The dedicated IPs that come with Business Hosting are pretty unique, and the scalable cloud VPS option is a pretty great option for those interested in that type of solution.
All in all, I’d say that Lunarpages isn’t a great budget option for lower-end hosting. You can find good performance, better features, and better pricing elsewhere for basic shared hosting products.
This means mostly individuals, hobbyists, and businesses that don’t need to intensively handle transactions online. However, I’ll admit that Personal Hosting’s second tier is a decent option.
When it comes to the higher-end products, which is a lot of Lunarpages’ lineup, things are looking pretty good. For SMBs who just need to prioritize quality, scalability, and/or customizability, Lunarpages is an excellent option—there’s my recommendation.
My recommendation may have helped, but it’s not likely to have solved everything 100%. Don’t worry! Lunarpages has a thirty-day money-back guarantee, although it doesn’t talk about it much…so you don’t need to take my word for it!